Monday, April 14, 2014

Enderman, Creepers and Steve, Oh my! - Minecraft inspired bedroom project

A couple of months ago I was staying with my sister in the Adelaide Hills, and she challenged me to help her redecorate her 7 year old son's bedroom. Caden didn't spend much time in there, and was reluctant to sleep in his new loft bed. Cue operation Caden's bedroom!

The first step was choosing a special interest to engage Caden with the project, and make sure he would be excited about his very own room redesigned just for him. It wasn't hard to narrow it down to Minecraft for our main inspiration, and some of the block elements of the game suited soft furnishings and wall art perfectly.

I love a challenge, and a budget. Trusty IKEA was the main source of decorative elements and furniture, with a few Kmart bits and pieces added. I also created three custom canvases to tie the theme together clearly and add some colour to the walls. The fun bit about that was the kids joining in, and Caden created his own Minecraft canvas that was a bit smaller and sits on his desk.

Colour scheme: Green, red, white and black with a tiny touch of blue, grey and yellow.

Resources: IKEA, Kmart, Cheap as Chips

Existing furnishings: Black-brown loft bed with desk attachment, black storage unit under the window.

Challenges: A rental meant that painting wasn't an option. Flexible landlords meant that wall art and new window dressing was fine. Also, storage was important, but more space for toys than clothes, being a real boy's room. A light had to be clearly visible from the bed.

Budget: $700 including furniture. I think we went a tiny bit over, with the light bulbs and more expensive window option, but it was very close.

Style: My sister's home and decorating style is clean, uncluttered with simple, strong colours. She doesn't tend to collect or feature vintage / secondhand furniture.

The Ender Man lamp was super quick and easy to make. I bought a black square lamp and cube design acrylic lamp base, which already came together, for a total of $10 I think it was from Kmart. A couple of strips of white bias binding were cut and adhered with double sided tape. Finished!

The black shade means it isn't super bright, and can act as a night light to be left on while sleeping.

The storage shelves and boxes were all from IKEA. These are Pallra boxes with lids on a Molger shelving unit.

We chose red and white for the bed, to imitate the beds in minecraft houses. I bought a discounted queen size quilt cover from IKEA and cut it down to size. A fresh white pillowcase was from Kmart.

Some cheap scatter cushions were bought from both IKEA and Kmart, and I hand stitched some black bias binding fabric pieces on to one of the green cushions to make a 'Creeper' head cushion.

To keep the look clean and simple, but still echo the Minecraft inspiration, we chose these window panels as blinds. They are from IKEA, and have a grey square pattern on it to keep with the block theme. Other than the bed, the black storage drawers beneath the window were the only original furnishings kept in the room.

Two square rugs of 'grass' were bought from IKEA as well, also chosen to suit the Minecraft block inspiration, as grass blocks are an integral part of Minecraft world building. A green Trogan wardrobe from IKEA was added, as Caden needed some new clothes storage, and the various tones of green throughout the room kept things coordinated without being perfectly matching. The wardrobe accounted for almost half the entire budget.

A few canvases and some simple art supplies from Cheap as Chips gave me something to do for quite a few hours during Adelaide's record-breaking heatwave! The kids also completed some art work while I was at it. I made three block-based wall art pieces, simply by measuring 64 squares on each canvas and painting the blocks in different colours.

We have a cloud block above a touch of grass, a grass block with dirt and a Steve face canvas. I like how the block design is a contrast with the imperfect brush strokes and colour! If you are more of a perfectionist, it would actually be quicker and a cleaner look to create prints on the computer ;)

The final few touches were two Drona storage boxes (these things are cheap and surprisingly big!) to sit on top of the wardrobe, and a fun click together clock, all from IKEA.

A few months later and Caden still enjoys his room, and happily sleeps in his bed with the Enderman lamp on in the corner :) Mission accomplished!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Curious Autumn competition winners - Family photography, Dandenong Ranges

Earlier in the year, Curiouser ran a competition called Curious Autumn. Our Facebook winner was Nikki, and we had a sweet family session at her home in Lilydale. Here are a few of my faves :)

This little girl had the most gorgeous variety of expressions, and she was so happy! I really love this first one. Something about her face, and the grassy background, makes me smile every time.



This last one is my favourite family shot, I love the curve of bub's face as she looks away and the love in mum and dad's faces as they look at their daughter :) Lovely sweetness.

Monday, April 07, 2014

The Small Forest Shop, handmade Gippsland sweetness

Wendy Hill is a lovely friend of mine and an amazing creative. Right at the end of last year she opened up a gorgeous little shop in an almost-hidden arcade in Warragul, in the Gippsland region of Victoria. It was really fun watching Wendy's Instagram updates as they prepared the shop for opening!

Here are some shots from opening night, which was a really fun party with clothes to try on and people to meet :) If you happen to visit the area, you'll find The Small Forest Shop at Shop 2, McLennan Arcade, Warragul. You can also find Wendy's lovely wares on etsy -

Into the woods!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Curious Autumn - Portrait Session Giveaway

Ah, yes, the old "it's been awhile, blogland"... I have been taking a break over the Summer school holidays, and this first month of school, getting my kids settled, running around to their various therapies and such. But now Autumn is almost here, and I am totally ready for it!

To celebrate, I am giving away TWO portrait sessions - one on Instagram and one on Facebook. They can be used for kids, families or couples. Each prize includes one Photography Session, an online slideshow of your images, FIVE digital files and FIVE 6"x8" pictures. Please scroll down for terms and conditions.

Click here for my current portrait info and price brochure.

To enter, simply follow the instructions on the image for either Instagram or Facebook, or both! I'll post them here, but you'll need to go to the relevant social media platform to complete the entry.

For Instagram users, regram (save and re-post) my Instagram post about the giveaway, along with the hashtag #curiousautumn and tell me what your favourite animal is (I would also love to hear why, but that is optional!).

On Facebook, 'share' the image from Curiouser Photography's Facebook page on your own page (when you share the post, don't forget to mark it 'public' so I can find it), add the hashtag #curiousautumn and tell me what your favourite animal is (I would also love to hear why, but that is optional!).

Terms and Conditions

1. The portrait sessions must take place in March 2014

2. The portrait sessions must take place in the Melbourne area, I am based in the Outer Eastern suburbs in the Dandenong Ranges, so rural areas East of Melbourne are also ok. Honestly I quite enjoy a bit of a country drive, so it's fairly flexible. Contact me if you're not sure :)

Adelaide peeps may also enter on the condition that their portrait session take place on Saturday the 22nd March 2014, or the morning of the 23rd March

3. You may enter once per social media platform, up to two entries total

4. Winners will be selected and announced on Friday the 7th March 2014. Winners will be announced via the Curiouser newsletter, so sign up here (or up to the left of this post, where it says ''Curiouser Newsletter") to be the first to know. I will also link to the newsletter from Facebook and Instagram.

5. Prize is not transferable and cannot be redeemed for cash

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Curiouser in 2014

Ah, December. A time to reflect (if you can find the time, of course) and also time to plan. Or at the very least plan to plan - business plans tend to gain clarity in the New Year ;)

Part of my December checklist includes reviewing and releasing my 2014 price lists. I have portrait prices ready and am still working on the wedding collections. Some things have gone up a bit, others stayed the same, and a couple of small changes made.

Something different about my price list for 2014 is the availability of individual digital copies of your images, with a print included (the price varies depending on the print size selected). You can still purchase the entire digital collection on its own, or receive them as a gift after a certain amount of products have been purchased.

Why do I sell digital files?

In professional photography business and marketing seminars you are basically told (for portrait / families) not to sacrifice your artwork as digital files, as you are relinquishing quality control over the final product. It has your name on it, whether literally or implied, and it may not be up to your standard of printing and production.

Let's just point out that a canvas from Snapfish is not going to compare to the stunning quality of professional suppliers. Prints from Harvey Norman will not come out with the colour and contrast intended by the photographer. It's just the way it is. I have carefully chosen high quality suppliers and I love their products for that reason. Many of these products are not even available to regular consumers, which is the major reason why I recommend the products I offer.

Which isn't answering the question at all, lol. I want to strike a balance between educating my clients on the true, tangible value of my photography and providing a user-friendly comfort zone. I am at neither of the extremes you often find in the industry - I am not a cheap photographer by any means, but nor am I very expensive. I put considerable time, money and energy into education, reflection and refinement of my skills. As a predominately creative person, this isn't always easy! I am at a place where I value my work. I enjoy working with clients who value it too.

That said, if you want to pick out one favourite photo from your session and give a copy to each of your 50 favourite people, I realise that you may not need superior quality prints for every single person. With the digital copy for just that one image that you need, you can run off a hundred copies at Kmart if you will. That said, I hope you keep the professional print for yourself ;)

Why do I give away digital files?

When a client has purchased a collection of products, perhaps a fine art photo book and some canvases, I do give them all of their digital images on a beautifully printed wooden USB stick in a cute little wooden box. This is mainly because I understand the urge to preserve that we in the digital age have developed, and knowing that the photos are 'out there' on a professional photographer's server somewhere just isn't quite the same as holding them in our hands. It's a kind of emotional security, and if you value the images enough to display them in your home, which I hope you do, then I want you to be able to preserve them and share them as well.

Why don't I just shoot and burn?

Shoot and burn is a term that refers to taking pictures and then providing a disc with them all, rather than any physically printed images. Often this comes with an unspoken addendum that the photography is of a lower quality, though this is not always the case, and perhaps receives less editing attention. Again, these are generalizations that come with the umbrella term 'shoot and burn', not rules! A 'shoot and burn' photographer is usually referring to someone who ONLY offers this service, and usually at a low price.

As I mentioned earlier, I have put a lot into being the artist that I am. I always feel that I have further to go, and I love exploring and expanding on my creative talents as time goes on, but I do value my work. I have to fight my overly-generous instincts on this one, all the time! But the truth is, if I gave you all of my many hours of hard work, made possible through years of development and growth (and financial investment), for little or nothing, then that is what you will believe it is worth. Little or nothing. My work is worth more than that, I am worth more than that, and I hold to that.

That said, I am not on either side of the debate entirely! I do sell digital files, and consider them an essential part of my wedding photography services, but there is no 'just' about the time and effort that I put in.

If someone has their heart set on a shoot and burn package, outside of my established price list, then I am more than happy for them to find a photographer who offers that, and I really hope they find someone whose work they love. It just may not be me.

What about Facebook profile pictures, etc?

Well, if you have a digital copy of an image then you can obviously use them for social media. But if you purchase a range of prints, without digital copies, and want to use them for social media, then just ask me :) I am always happy to provide a 'social media file' at the best resolution and size for display on the web.

So where is this price list, anyway?

Lol, well I don't usually share the entire price list with just anyone! I don't want someone to choose me as their family or portrait photographer because I have the cheapest whatever, or just because they have a gift certificate. If you love what I do, I would love to work with you.

What I will tell you is this:

The session fee for 1-2 hours at your choice of location (or locations) is $150. You will receive an online slideshow, set to music, and an online gallery, as well as in-person or telephone consultations to help you figure it all out (or just because it's fun to chat!).

Print prices start at 6"x8" (plus mat) for $75. Individual files, with a print included, start at $150 (8"x12"). Canvases go from $280 for an 8"x12" up to 40"x60" (really really big) for $980. And if you sign up to the Curiouser newsletter, I will pop a link to the full information pdf in the December news ;)